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New York City mayor: ‘Vile’ Jew-hatred at Queens high school

"A Jewish educator was targeted for her religious identity. This is unacceptable, and we will never tolerate hate in Queens," wrote David Weprin, a New York state representative.

Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens, in New York City in January 2021. Credit: Ron Adar/Shutterstock.
Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens, in New York City in January 2021. Credit: Ron Adar/Shutterstock.

Hundreds of New York City students “rampaged” through the halls at Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens, on Nov. 20 for two hours after learning that a teacher attended a pro-Israel rally.

The gathering, which students planned on a group chat, forced “the terrified educator to hide in a locked office as the teen mob tried to push its way into her classroom,” the New York Post reported. It added that the students chanted “Free Palestine” and that the teacher “needs to go.”

The Post reported that video clips showed a ripped-out water fountain in a hallway and tiles that students admitted they broke in a bathroom.

The teacher, whose name the Post withheld but whom it identified as Jewish in a photo caption, told the paper that she has taught in the city’s public school system for 23 years—seven at Hillcrest High School.

“I have worked hard to be supportive of our entire student body and an advocate for our community, and was shaken to my core by the calls to violence against me that occurred online and outside my classroom last week,” she said. “No one should ever feel unsafe at school—students and teachers alike.”

The Post reported that 25 New York City police officers were dispatched to the school to stop the riot. Cops returned the next day, reportedly after a student made threats on a group chat.

“The vile show of antisemitism at Hillcrest High School was motivated by ignorance-fueled hatred, plain and simple, and it will not be tolerated in any of our schools, let alone anywhere else in our city,” wrote New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat. “We are better than this.”

“New York City Public Schools is already conducting a full investigation into how this incident took place, and, this week, Project Pivot teams will begin outreach with students at Hillcrest to ensure they understand why this behavior was unacceptable,” the mayor added. “No student, teacher or staff member should fear for their safety in our schools.”

David Weprin, a New York State representative who represents Queens, wrote that he was “shocked and appalled by the violent, antisemitic riot that broke out at Hillcrest High School earlier this week.”

“A Jewish educator was targeted for her religious identity. This is unacceptable and we will never tolerate hate in Queens,” he added.

The New York City Education Department stated that is “aware of the completely unacceptable incident that occurred at Hillcrest High School last week, and our safety team is actively collaborating with the superintendent and principal to fully investigate the matter and protect the safety of both students and staff,” the Post reported.

“No form of hate,  whether it be antisemitism, Islamophobia or other form of bigotry will be tolerated in our schools,” it added.

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